b"In the name ofRise and Walk we believe, particularly, God [who] is love.Some feel they are condemned and are unre-deemable in the eyes of righteous churchgoers, so why bother?Others want to make God A Pastoral Letter 2021Most Rev. Douglas J. Lucia During Advent 1978, Bishop Frank J. Harrison, the seventh Bishop of Syracuse, wrote a pasto- into their own image, rather than the other way around.And yet still others say, I believe, ral letter to the people of the Diocese of Syracuse titled, We Are the Church.In 2001, over 20but and their faith and life dont jive.years later, Bishop James M. Moynihan, the ninth Bishop of Syracuse, issued a pastoral letterIn this mix is where I ind the Church is needed even more, not less. Isnt that the real scenar-February 17, 2021 titled, Equipping the Saints for the Work of Ministry.Most recently, in 2017, my immediateio in which the infant Church found itself?A sinful world needing to hear the name of Jesus Ash Wednesday predecessor, Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, the tenth Bishop of Syracuse, addressed the faith- to know redemption and to rise and walk.Permit me to share with you a candid relection Introduction ful in a pastoral letter titled, Enriching the Church.It focused on the role of the family in thethat was sent to me recently.It illustrates for me what our parish churches must be:life of the Church of Syracuse and beyond.As a continuation of these relections on the role ofIf you're having sex before marriage, go to church anyway. If you are a drug addict Christs faithful in building up the Churchthe living Body of Christin the world today, Itrying to beat addiction, go to church anyway. If you were out drunk all night the offer, as the eleventh Bishop of Syracuse, this pastoral letter with its focus on the commonnight before, go to church anyway. If you aren't sure what gender you prefer, go to Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, inheritance in which we all have a share: I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I givechurch anyway. If you can't quit that disgusting habit, go to church anyway. Church One of my great desires in the 18 months since I became your bishop on August 8, 2019 hasto you:in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk(Acts 3:6). is a hospital for the broken, lost, empty, confused, desperate, and rejected. Every beentoshareaninitialpastoralletteroutliningmyvisionforthislocalChurchwecallsinner has a future, and every Saint has a past. How do we break the chains of addic-home.It is said that Home is where the heart is! and my heart is certainly at home here inThese words take on new signiicance for me when I receive letters from Christs faithfultion and bondage? By prayer - prayer for you and prayer with you! There isn't a Central New York and in my concern for this portion of Gods lock. throughoutthediocese.Theletterscontainvaryingopinions;butonecommontheme:single person within the 4 walls of the church that doesn't have something they hate Walk the talk!, Walk like Jesus!These are indeed huge footsteps to follow. But we must stop to consider that Jesus comes to meet us on the way, as he did with Simeon and Anna inor regret about their past. We've all made mistakes and will continue to - BUT His From a young age, one of my favorite images and devotions has been that of the Sacred Heartthe temple at his Presentation.In fact, Simeon takes the infant Jesus in his arms and as heGrace is enough!! There's things that I'd never want to admit out loud about myself, of Jesus.In part, it might be because there was a beautiful statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesusmeets his Lord he is illed with peace.The Lord reaches out to him as a light to the nationsbut God knows. And He loves me nonetheless. So whatever you've done, whatever on the high altar reredos of my home parish of Holy Angels in Altona, NY.I remember also my(cf. Lk 2:32) and a lamp unto our feet (cf. Ps 119:105). you're doing, whatever you will dogo to church anyway. It might just change your mother bringing us to Mass on the First Friday of the month and desiring us to make ourlife!! If you are in church and don't have any of those problems, stop running those Nine First Fridays. To this day, when I am at my parents house, I can still see ever presentHowever, it doesnt stop there!For once Simeon and Anna had encountered the Christ, theypeople away! Just like you got saved, don't hinder someone else from a life chang-their own statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which for many years was found in a wall shrineknew they could go forth from the temple not because their work was done, but to carrying/saving experience. It's time to shepherd some lost sheep.in the living room. Christs light in the temple of their bodies and to radiate Christ to those they would meet along the road of life. Recently, in a meeting with catechists, Pope Francis spoke of their vital Such images cause me to hear Jesus call in the Gospel, echoing through the ages: Come to meThere is no true catechesis without the responsibilityinleadingotherstoapersonalencounterwithJesusthroughprayer,the all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest [refresh you] (Mt 11:28). Thistestimony of men and women in lesh and bloodBefore people get too upset with the ideas shared above, remember the likes of Mary Magda-invitation and images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with open arms or pointing to his heartSacraments, and Scripture.In particular, he noted:lene, Simon Peter, Matthew, Thomas, Paul the Apostle, Mary of Egypt, Augustine of Hippo, alame with love are some of the most consoling and endearing expressions of where the(Audience 30 Jan 2021). Francis of Assisi, Margaret of Cortona, Thomas Becket, Philip Howard, Ignatius of Loyola, heart of Jesus is for you and me. This sacred mission is one for all ages and invites you and I to consider how we care for theBartolo Longo, Dorothy Dayand the list could go onwho, despite their sins and weakness,to love one another as I have lovedwould be recognized as true disciples of Jesus.In turn, they would exemplify the virtues of temple of the Holy Spiritof Godwhich is our own body, physically and spiritually.Such Nonetheless, since I became a bishop, I am very concerned about how seriously people takeyoufaith, hope, and love to their neighbors and those struggling in faithful discipleship.their relationship with the God whom we know as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.As we can docare then extends to the human family as Jesus calls us:in relationships, do you and I just take God for granted and expect God to be there for us no(Jn 13:34).It calls us also to examine how Jesus Christ is seen through us in our wordsYet, all mentioned in the above paragraph and other members of the Communion of Saints matter what we do or how much we ignore him in our lives?How seriously do we take ourand even more in our deeds. What good is it, my brothers, if someonewould be the irst to say that without some encounter with Jesus Christ, either personally or belief that our God is a Trinity of Persons, a community of love, and that we are all created tosays he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?If a brother or sister hasthrough his Church, they would have remained lost.To this end, we hear Jesus instructing The pastoral epistle of the Letter of James states: know, love, and serve God in a community called Church and to spur one another on tonothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, Go in peace, keepus, like he did those present at Lazarus tomb: Take away the stone (Jn 11:39). Isnt that the warm, and eat well, but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?Somission that you and I are called to share in as we are raised from the waters of baptismto holiness of life and eternal happiness? Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every also, faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead be open and to let Christ be known and seen through us? This pursuit is summarized in St. Pauls letter to the Church of Ephesus: On August 8, 2019, when I began my service among you as the Bishop of Syracuse, I stated,way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by(Jas 2:14-17). every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the bodys We are all in this together.Now, more than ever, I am of the conviction that unless we workgrowth and builds itself up in love (together as a family to re-build this Church (using the words Christ spoke to St. Francis ofFaith without works is lifelessis dead.That is the great danger we face in the CatholicEph 4:15-16).Assisi), the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ is in danger of being consumed by a culture of deathChurch today. So many pay no heed to our Catholic faith and are turned off to religion in gen-whose sole purpose is to make us happy now, with no regard to the next life, i.e., our heavenlyeral because they do not witness behavior that exhibits the face of the God in whom we say citizenship (cf. Phil 3:20).Roman Catholic Diocese of SyracusePastoral Letter 2021 In the name of1Live the Truth in Love Fourth, we must be a community offaith and service .We have already seen that faith anda person thinks of the Church, so it will become for him (The Jurist 33 (1973), p. 402). The works are intimately connected and without both, the Church is dead!As our diocesanDiocesan Synod is meant to be an agent of (1) Pastoral Organization and Coordination (2) Church continues the process of pastoral planning to best serve the people of this dioceseCommunion and (3) Reform. So how do you and I do this today?How do we share the Holy Name of Jesus and the love ofand with the resources that are available to us, it most important to come together evenCo-responsibility in the Churchhis Sacred Heart with those we encounter in our parishes and in our daily lives?kerygma more in charitable outreach and advocacy.This is not always easy because of personal pref- In his work,, the late Leon-Joseph Cardinal Suenens wrote:erences and even biases, but it is necessary if the various parts of the Diocese of Syracuse areThe church, with its roots in the past, is also reaching out dynamically toward the First, I believe we need to be a people of the a people who proclaim boldly andTo those whose experience of life is impaired by circumstances beyond their control,future:it guards idelity as well as hope.Renewal is not restoration of the past.to truly give witness of the living presence of Christ.As Bishop Harrison wrote in his pasto-with loving conviction the Gospel of Jesus Christ.He is both the Gate and the Good ShepherdJesus came to announce a year of favorRather the church, taking life from the past, wills to go on to meet the Lord, while (cf. Jn 10:9-11).To better know him and his teaching, I consider it important that we invigo- ral letter:(We Are Church).This mission of accompanimentansweringtheneedsofthepresent.Christwasyesterday,istoday,andwillbe rate evangelization and strengthen Catholic education and catechesis/formation in parishesand especially reaching out to those on the sidelines of life are the true relection of what ittomorrow.He is the past, present and future of the church (p.17).throughoutourdiocese.Asastart,IencourageongoingBiblestudyandcatechesisformeans to minister in the Name of Jesus. Together we are called to invest our talents for the parishioners of all ages so they can better know the Word of God and understand its connec- greater glory of God and the salvation of the world.tions with the doctrine and magisterial teachings of the Catholic Church.Such catechesispastoral leadership In such an assembly, one inds an instrument whereby the particular church can address in rooted in Scripture and Tradition will invite participants to greater discipleship and helpFifth, we must providein helping the inhabitants of the Diocese ofthe local context the already and the not yet (Cardinal Suenens).This is my hope as I grasp allay the confusion and error that has found its way into popular Catholicism.As notedSyracuse respond to the universal call to holiness and come to know themselves as thethe shepherds staff with which I was entrusted and seek to carry the light of Christ to light earlier, faith and works go together and we ind discord in the Church when members prac- People of God. Such leadership involves excellence and accountability provided by thosethe way for our Diocesan family.tices are not consistent with the teachings of the Church of which Christ is the Head. prayer Thuswho are ordained or commissioned as ministers of the Church.Our current Year of Voca-it is in the Church that people look for the presence of God in the breaking of the bread, in thetions, under the patronage of St. Joseph, attests to the need for men and women of vision whoThis is where my heart is these days.Be assured of my continued prayers for all who call the Second, we must be a people of.During Advent 1978, Bishop Harrison wrote, celebration of the sacraments, and in the songs of praise and proclamation of faith.It is withinare willing to give themselves wholeheartedly to Gods dream for the human family. It goesDiocese of Syracuse home and I ask in your kindness to pray that I might give Gods lock in the bosom of the understanding and consoling family of faith that the weary pilgrim expects tobeyond priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, or lay ecclesial ministers.All personsCentral New York and the Southern Tier a true shepherds care.May the Holy Name of Jesus ind the Master who gives guidance, support and nourishment for the journey of life by their baptism have been anointed as Priest, Prophet, and King.Anyone who claims mem- be ever on our lips and may the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus burn anew in our hearts!(We Arebership in a parish or in the Catholic Church must remember the light of Christ they were the Churchp. 11).Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8) needsentrusted with on the day of Baptism to be kept burning brightly.Practically speaking this to be the head and center of diocesan life.To this end, I would like in the coming months thatmeans we cannot be Catholic in name only; our believing needs to be evident in our all parishes of the Diocese of Syracuse engage in an extended period of catechesis focusingbehaving and in our engagement in our local parishes.on prayer, especially the greatest prayer of the Mass.As part of this renewal, it is my desireDiocesan Mission: In the Name of Jesus,that Eucharistic Adoration be a regular part of the schedule of prayer in our parishes, along with a concerted effort to renew the quality of both liturgy and preaching in our churches. Our Strategy Today & TomorrowThird, we must acknowledge oursins and failures .Since I became your diocesan bishop,These relections, along with the opportunities and the challenges they represent, are leadingMost Rev. Douglas J. Lucialike my predecessors, I have sought to confront the crimes and sins committed by personsme to a new point in my ministry among you.Conscious of our diocesan mission of evangeli- Bishop of Syracusewithin our diocese who failed in their charge to teach and pastor in imitation of Christ, thezation to help people discover, know, and proclaim Jesus Christ (Our Catholic Faith:Know it Good Shepherd.At the present time, we are seeking to provide the inancial resources to aid Live itShare it), it is my intention during 2021 to update our diocesan strategic plan, victims and survivors through the process of re-organization.The wounds are still very realthrough a consultative process with clergy and laity.I would then like to develop a frame-and in moving forward in our mission as Church, we must never forget the terrible harmwork for a Diocesan Synod to be held prior to 2026, our 140th anniversary as a diocese.done to victims and must do everything possible so that it never happens again.To victimsan assemblyof Christs and survivors who may be reading this pastoral letter, I cannot apologize enough. I alsofaithful of a particular Churchfor the good of the whole diocesan communityassists There are three key concepts regarding a Diocesan Synod.It is: (1) invite and ask you to be part of the Churchs rebuilding and revitalization. the diocesan Bishop (2)(3) Of course, at the heart of any renewal is the Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation).This(see Canon 460/CIC 83).As we engage in re-organization as a civil encounter with the Divine Mercy of our God is an essential building block in nurturing ourentity, I believe it is also important for us to look at our communion as a diocese.Though growth as a child of God, along with casting out the darkness of sin from our lives.Frequentwe are many parts, how can we better relect the presence of the Risen Christ as Churchas availability and use of this sacrament should be a keystone of a parish and its parishioners.His Bodyin the 21st century? Its grace strengthens the beacon of the Christian life in a world too frequently darkened andAs a person experiences the Church, so he will come to think of the Church.[And] as cheapened by sin. Patrick Collins in an essay titled, The Diocesan SynodAn Assembly of the People of God, observed:"